“3 seeds gave me 53 melons,” wrote a home gardener on an online forum.
Reading this statement put a big smile on my face. I recognized the feeling of joy and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. Being a part of many online forums where #growyourfood is discussed, it is a pleasure to see how many people are involved in gardening and how positive their experiences are.
Like many other people, my interest in farming also grew during Covid. I was looking after my own garden since our gardeners were absent. I spent a lot of time plucking, weeding, sowing, and pruning my plants. Most important to me was the time I spent creating my own kitchen garden. It wasn’t long after, that I found myself reading and researching for hours a day about all the things I could grow. I find it miraculous how a small seed, the size of half a grain of rice, has the potential to feed a family. A little seed mimics the complexity of a human mother to give birth to the most essential means of living, food.
Born and bought up in Delhi, Rashi Sanghai did her grad studies from Manchester followed by post grad from Warwick. She started her own company in agriculture three years back and it has now become her life‘s calling now.
We all went through stress and anxiety, some even trauma, during the pandemic. But the disease aside, most of us had the chance to think about what it means to be self-reliant, consume conservatively, and find happiness within ourselves or with family. We started finding less meaning in worldly materialistic pleasures and started connecting back to our roots, back to the soil and back to earth.
Mother Nature has her ways of rotating the wheel of life and sustaining it. Like a little chick pushes through the hard shell of its egg to become a free bird, and a baby animal pushes through its mother’s womb to see a new world, so a little “lifeless” seed pushes through the weight of the earth and flourishes to give us the essentials of survival. It gives me immense satisfaction and gratification to be a part of this cycle when I see the transformation of my kitchen garden from a seed to a meal.
I am advocating for everyone to experience this satisfaction of growing; to be close to nature, to be close to earth. We often adopt artificial measures to relieve the stress of our daily lives. But in my experience, feeling the earth and being amidst nature is the biggest, most natural stress buster humans can experience. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor you are, or how old you are, anyone can grow at any scale. I have often heard home growers say, we cooked this meal out of our kitchen garden, and they take pride in describing their meals as fresh, organic, and flavorful. This is the satisfaction I want to emphasize.
There is another very conspicuous element of #growyourfood. You save a lot. And you are saving multi-dimensionally: you save a lot of money and you save yourself from consuming foods that may have been grown using pesticides and artificial fertilizers. Environmentally, planting reduces soil erosion and filters the air to improve the oxygen content for us to breathe fresher. Isn’t it a beautiful circle to be a part of? Just by giving back to nature in these small ways, it rewards us with the means of living a pure life.
With a passion like this and for the zest of growing, I was able to turn the COVID spark to a flame that’s evolving to be a blaze. In this ever-learning era, I took farming as a profession which is more of a calling to me than a job. To experience the natural progression of different seeds and being able to choose the one that chooses our Nepali soil makes me feel ‘gratitude’. To be able to nurture them to make them available to our economy makes me feel ‘gratification’. To know that this produce feeds families organically, healthily, and flavorfully makes me feel ‘grounded’